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My cervix isn’t in my neck. Although now I’m not so sure.

September 3, 2010

So, I found a lump on my neck. It’s probably nothing. Less than nothing, even. I thought about calling to consult one of the two doctors I went on dates with recently, but if I have any hope at all of seeing either one of them again, now probably isn’t the best time to convey that I’m using them for their medical degrees and prescription-writing capabilities. That’s more of a third-date disclosure. Thus, I’ve been spending a lot of time self-diagnosing on the interweb, as I avoid my own doctor like Snooki skirts brain activity because she’s Russian and scary. To be clear, my doctor’s Russian and scary. Not Snooki. She’s Chilean. I’m sad that I know that.

Anyway, every time I see my doctor, no matter what actually ails me, her recommended treatment without fail is to give me a pap smear to screen for cervical cancer and tell me I’m depressed. Last time I went in for an appointment complaining of a rash on my face, and next thing I knew, my feet were in the stirrups and she was apologizing for her chilly hands and writing me a mental-health referral. If I do attempt to get my lump checked out, I’d be all, “OK. So, I have this thing on my neck …” And she’d be like, “Jezzica, ven vas your vlast pap smear?” And I’d say, “Umm. Last year. Maybe? But my neck … it’s sore …” So she’d be like, “I zee. Vee do pap smear now.” And I’d be all, “No, we don’t do pap smear now. We do NECK now.” Except I wouldn’t say that out loud, I’d just let her have her way with me, because I don’t handle confrontation well and did I mention she’s scary? Yeah. I think I did.

I googled “swollen lymph nodes,” because that seems like something that could go wrong with an otherwise healthy and normal neck, and my search led me to this Mayo Clinic page, which indicated I could have strep throat, mono or cat scratch fever. Or, like, cancer and malaria and stuff. I swallowed to see whether I had a sore throat. I wasn’t sure, so I swallowed again. And again. And again. And again. Then I got a sore throat from all the swallowing. I haven’t kissed anyone in months, so mono seems unlikely, although I had it my sophomore year of high school and these lips weren’t kissing anyone then, either. Shocking. I’ll have to call a priest to confirm my suspicion, but I’m guessing immaculately contracting mono twice probably puts me on par with the Virgin Mary. Also, cat scratch fever? Seriously, Mayo Clinic? Teva and Isabel have never been more offended. However, I have to confess it’s always been a dream of mine to come down with a disease that shares the name of a Ted Nugent album.

My co-workers, who take particular interest in my personal failures and prat falls, have really embraced the new me plus lump. My boss Paul has taken to calling me “Lumpy.” And Melanie, who hesitantly agreed to touch it but not before dousing herself in hand sanitizer, has been serenading me with “Lump” by The Presidents of the United States. She was all, “Lump sits alone in a boggy marsh …” And I interrupted, “Boggy marsh is kind of redundant.” And she was all, “Jessica, you know nothing about songwriting.” And I was like, “Oh, excuse me. When did your last album drop? That’s what people in the industry say. Drop.” So she said, “Whatever. Maybe you and your lump should have a reality show.” I was all, “Yes, we *should* have a reality show. It would be called ‘Alone … with cats and lump.’ AWCAL for the acronym. Wait. Are you mocking me?” And Melanie snapped, “I’ve got to get my digs in before you succumb.” She’ll miss me when I’m gone. Now, every night when I leave the newsroom, Melanie says, “Goodnight, Jess. Goodnight, Lump.” It’s like the book “Goodnight Moon” gone horribly wrong. At least one time I thought the lump was going to respond, preferably with something witty or informative, but turns out it was just a burp so that was kind of a letdown. My lump apparently is the strong, silent type.

After further researching the possible cause of Mango – oh, yeah. That’s what I named her. Mango. Because she’s the size of a cherry. But I bumped her up a notch or two on the fruit chain, kind of like how Ben Folds 5 was really a trio but the band wanted to keep its options open because you just never know. I tried to take a photo of Mango and me with my iPhone, but it’s sort of a difficult angle and everything was coming out blurry. Also, no, there isn’t an app for that. Lump Looker? Ode to Node? I could do this all day, Steve Jobs. So I’m all over WebMd and Wikipedia, trying to find a pic and better understand Mango, who’s totally a tough nut to crack, when I came across this diagram:

My cervix is in my neck? I guess I had to see it with my own thighs.

Huh. Apparently, the neck is home to the inferior and superior deep cervical glands. While I’m seriously skeezed by the words “deep” and “cervical” in the same sentence, this seems to justify my scary Russian doctor’s likely insistence that I need a pap smear for my neck lump. Although now she has *a lot* of explaining to do about her past use of lube and a speculum in a place that was definitely not my neck. Or was it? Maybe all this time I’ve just been talking out of my ass.

54 Comments leave one →
  1. September 3, 2010 4:33 AM

    Goiter, perhaps? Don’t google it. Seriously. Maybe just forget I said anything. My sister’s had one for years, but she hasn’t discovered it in the mirror yet, so we keep it very hush hush. That’s why I take cell phone photos of my neck now, because you can’t be too sure of anything.

  2. September 3, 2010 6:00 AM

    Haha, thank you for giving me my first laugh of the day. OUT LOUD, NO LESS. Good luck on the lump.

  3. September 3, 2010 7:15 AM

    if my general practitioner wanted to smear my pap? i’d probably do something atrocious with his stethoscope… the lump might not be too bad. you can dress it with scarves this winter. like a ‘lawn goose’, you can put different outfits on it… a little santa suit for christmas maybe?

  4. September 3, 2010 7:23 AM

    I think my doctor got his diploma from the same online medical college as yours. He’s so into the “look to the left and cough” school of diagnosis, I end up with a pain in the neck as well as the ass.

  5. September 3, 2010 9:06 AM

    I got more than a few chuckles out of this, thanks for sharing! Tell Mango I said hello. (Good luck with that.) As for the anatomical names of those glands in the neck, they are taken from the name of the first 7 “cervical” vertebrae in your neck, the first being called “Atlas” and the second “Axis” and so on. Weird huh?

  6. September 3, 2010 10:30 AM

    I’m guessing you don’t REALLY want medical advice here, so I’ll just say, “Mango? Really? Really??”

    Because you know that what that REALLY sounds like is Margo.(Or Margeaux, if you’re a pretentious Hemingway.)

    And you know what Margo makes you think of. That’s right. Marlo. Marlo Thomas.

    And you know where THAT takes you, of course. Yep. “Free to Be You and Me.”

    Which, as we all know, is being plastered all over ads for Target.

    So what you REALLY have in your neck is a gland for which you must shop for mid-quality home goods.

    I recommend a new piece of mirror art and a six drawer organizer.

    Should clear that problem right up.

  7. September 3, 2010 11:38 AM

    Mango makes me think of that horrid Chris Kattan.

    And your doc’s got a serious case of pap-smear-itis, which given that she’s Russian, I wouldn’t futz with her either.

    Well, here’s hoping that Mango gets the eviction notice or at least a sparkly pair of spanky pants.

  8. September 3, 2010 11:53 AM

    Being a fraidy cat hypochondriac, I’m not sure how I feel about you not seeing your scary doctor about Mango. My favorite/least favorite feeling is going to the dr. and having her say, “Yeah, it’s not a big deal.” Favorite because WHEW! Least favorite because she’s always running late and it takes at least 1.75 hours to get through an appointment plus the copay. But then I remind myself WHEW. Also, she’s not constantly smearing my pap. That speculum is COLD. So maybe it’s just easier to see her?

    Anyway, I like the idea of dressing your goiter up. If I had any crafty abilities, sewing-wise, I’d be making you an apple orchard costume right now.

  9. September 3, 2010 12:10 PM

    wow. I’ve been doing The Sex ALL wrong. wait ’til my part time lover hears about this!

    so I got a weird lump in my neck once. I went to the doctor convinced it was a tumor. it was just a cyst and it went away on its own. hopefully that’s what you have. unless the pap comes back negative. then it’s probably VD. just sayin’.

  10. September 3, 2010 12:39 PM

    So wait… Mango has a cervix?!? Does this mean she can get knecked up?

    Wow… I thought I already had my Medical Freak of the Week winner when I found out that the chick from Grey’s Anatomy has six toes… per foot (or the paparazzo has really mad Photoshop skillz):

    If Mango ever wants to write her memoirs, here’s an idea for a title: Things that go lump in the night.

  11. dru permalink
    September 3, 2010 1:04 PM

    Funny you should mention this: Coll ( assassin number 2 and boyfriend number 1 ) totally just developed a random lump on his neck like three days ago.

    Maybe it’s aliens and they’re snatching up the best and the brightest for world-attacking?

  12. September 3, 2010 1:18 PM

    Cervix = Latin for neck. BOOYAH, everyone who made fun of me for taking Latin when they were all taking living languages!

  13. September 3, 2010 5:32 PM

    You are totes obsessed with the whole Catholicism thing now, I’ve noticed 😉

    I’ve always been disturbed by how they call it the “cervical spine” (and by “it” I don’t know what part of the spine I’m referring to, so I’ll just leave it at “it”; but I am pretty sure I asked once, and someone who was like a doctorish person told me that it isn’t anywhere near the cervix). This is all very perplexing.

    I get swollen glands a lot for stupid reasons like if I get a canker sore or am just really worn out or something (oh, I know what you’re thinking: HOTTTTT)… maybe it’s just something like that?

    Also, how do you feel about Wanda Sykes? I was just watching her special on HBO and she was making fun of how doctors are the only Americans who know the metric system … so they have to “explain shit to people in terms of fruit.” Her example was like if you have a tumor and the doc says it’s 9 cm., you just stare at her like, “and?” but then if she goes on to say, “It’s the size of a GRAPEFRUIT!” you’re like OH! SHIT! That needs to come out then, right!

  14. September 3, 2010 8:59 PM

    okay. please trust me. do you trust me? sure you do. run right over to your TV and download this movie on Netflix or iTunes or whatever:

    How To Get Ahead in Advertising. one of my all-time favorites, and there could be no more appropriate time for you to watch it. trust me.

    still need convincing? starring the inimitable RACHEL WARD. watch it now.

  15. September 3, 2010 10:53 PM

    I am always getting swollen glands behind my ears ( don’t know where yours is located on your neck). My doctor said it’s just my body dealing with a virus/cold. And I work at a pharmacy, so apparently I get a lot of those! I’m a total hypochondriac, though….I always think I have some rare form of cancer/a deadly disease that hasn’t been discovered yet. That’s really interesting about the cervical glands, though! Weird……..the human body is fucking weird. Anyway good luck with Mango!

  16. September 3, 2010 11:02 PM

    See this is why I can never become a full time lesbian – even for you darlin’. Because I have always known my cervix is in my neck and boys have the right equipment to reach it

  17. September 4, 2010 1:37 AM

    Snooki is Chilean?

    I. Feel. Totally. Jipped.
    Is Jipped a word? I feel like the peanut butter at the 99cents store would be called Jipped.

    So.. you should come to LA because you need a vacation without your mom. And because I don’t know anything about anatomy but I love gross stuff and would absolutely look at your neck lump without hand sanitizing BEFORE or AFTER. That’s how much I like you without having met you, my bloggiest friend.

    Wishing you tons of random cervixing this weekend.

  18. September 4, 2010 3:48 AM

    I am a chronic hypochondriac.

    I always think I’m dying.

    One time when I was a kid I thought I was dying. My parents said it was nothing. I went to the hospital and it turns out I had gallstones. I laughed, triumphant.

    My blog is about the end of the world. And mayonnaise. And popcorn:

  19. September 4, 2010 5:17 AM

    My Doctor sends me for Cognitive Behavioural Therapy every time I see her. Flu? Broken limb? Pap smear? It’s off to Therapy you go. So I no longer see my Doctor either. I also no longer use the internet to diagnose myself – because last time I clicked my way through a bunch of yes/no question, the screen turned red and told me to call the emergency services IMMEDIATELY because it was likely I was dying.

    Three years later – I’m still alive. Thanks a lot internet – you untrustworthy resource of medical information…

  20. September 4, 2010 5:11 PM

    It might be a Mento or a Milkdud that needs to dissolve its sugars, but I recommend you go and get molested by cold fingers Ruuski anyway just to check it out.

    I love your absurd sense of humor, allowing people to touch it with sanitized fingers and pointing out the redundancy of that Presidents song.

    My favorite line though: “Every time I see my doctor, no matter what actually ails me, her recommended treatment without fail is to give me a pap smear to screen for cervical cancer and tell me I’m depressed.” Hilarious!!! I get the same thing when I go to the dentist and dermo; plus they make me get on the scale every time. Wtf with that?

  21. redg_rl permalink
    September 4, 2010 10:10 PM

    hmm.. hmm.. I’m stumped & puzzled by these recent disclosures ms. awc. how are you feeling ? does mango cause you physical pain? does mango need a beatdown? on second thought, that might not be such a great idea.. maybe you need a new doctor, one that isn’t always so cervically-minded or is that cervically challenged? now I have new fears regarding all matters gyno. mango be gone!

  22. September 5, 2010 3:18 AM

    Makes perfect sense. After all, Linda Lovelace’s clitoris was in her throat.

  23. September 5, 2010 3:58 PM

    I just found your blog through random WordPress link clickage, and I really like it. 🙂

  24. September 5, 2010 5:14 PM

    I had mono twice. Epstein Barr virus.

    Also, consider Lyme Disease.

    And maybe some blood disorders and/or latent clap.

    You should spend a lot of time googling all of this and prepare a case file for your doctor. Doctors like that.

  25. September 6, 2010 2:08 PM

    Last night I was going to write to you about the lame-o who spelled the word g-y-p-p-e-d.
    And then this morning I was at a cafe alone (not with cats) sipping my macchiato when this guy next to me said, “You know that word ‘gypped’? It’s named for gypsies. Because gypsies used to rip people off all the time.”
    I didn’t even have to google that shit.

    And, yes, I am a gracious hostess. Come on by. I’ll take you to Whole Foods for some hot lesbian hippie action.

  26. September 6, 2010 4:11 PM

    yeah … i was gonna mention that “gypped” is spelled as such, and that generally it’s considered pretty much a crude thing to say, sorta like, oh i don’t know, saying “hey, that mechanic really jewed me on the price of these brakes.”

    • September 6, 2010 4:13 PM

      ….at least in my part o’ the country, where it seems a lot of folks of “gypsy” descent live…

  27. Melanie permalink
    September 6, 2010 5:17 PM

    Jess you know you love the stirrup action. When one is single and Alone With Cats, one takes action when one can get it. From Russia with glove.

  28. Melanie permalink
    September 6, 2010 5:19 PM

    P.S. Maybe you and Lump would have an easier time dating if you’re cervical glands weren’t so inferior. And if they weren’t in your neck. Just a tip.

  29. Melanie permalink
    September 6, 2010 5:20 PM

    YOUR cervical glands. Dammit.

  30. September 6, 2010 7:31 PM

    “That’s more of a third-date disclosure.”

    Yes. Yes it is.

  31. BeneathTheSpinLight permalink
    September 6, 2010 8:59 PM

    We need to be best friends. You’re hilarious.

  32. September 6, 2010 10:46 PM

    Stay off the Google and the WebMD ! They can drive you crazy. Tell your doctor and if she starts with the pap again, tell her to feel her own cervix and look at your neck. BE INSISTENT! You can do it! If not, call me… I’ll go with you and set miss cold hands straight!

  33. September 7, 2010 7:28 AM

    I hope your lump turns out to be nothing! I also hope you don’t end up in the stirrups again.

  34. September 7, 2010 10:28 AM

    Maybe you should get less-scarier, less-Russian doctor who will not do pap smears?

  35. September 7, 2010 11:01 AM

    Lumpy your Doctor is extremely thorough, lol. Which is a good thing…I guess??? My doctor missed my symptoms because she thought I need to lose weight. I did lose weight when they removed my benign mass from my thoracic cavity that was causing all my symptoms, lol. Good luck with your GYN-Neck exam!

  36. September 10, 2010 1:04 AM

    Oh dear. I don’t like this one bit. Will your neck need a pap smear and if so will you have to scootch down the table…juuuust a little bit more. So she can get a real look at it?

    I’m sure it’s nothing. Maybe it’s diet? It seems super trendy to blame gluten for everything lately. Maybe you could get on the gluten free thing. I feel like you need a new haircut and skinny cargo pants and platform military inspired booties for this endeavor. It’s so au currant. Or whatever. I’m all about diet trends. Once I went on Atkins all day long.

    Kisses. I love your lumpy self and hope all is going to be less lumped out in your future. Wonder twins activate in the form of no neck pap smears.

  37. September 10, 2010 10:26 AM

    Dude, I’m a total hypochondriac, when I went to nursing school, I was sure I had just about every endocrine disorder there was or cancer. Then we covered mental health, I was sure I had at least 5 personality disorders.

    Swollen lymph nodes can mean a lot of things, but usually they are nothing, still… you should go get a pap to be sure, or maybe you can find another dr that will look at your neck. 😉

  38. September 10, 2010 12:38 PM

    I had a lump removed at a VA Hospital several months ago. I tell everyone the scar on the back of my neck is from drunken aliens who missed the crown chakra and got my neck instead while drilling for all the knowledge a former newspaper reporter could still have after years of late night (or was it early morning?) deadlines and monthly poker games I still miss after some 25 years. (It was a small paper, only 30,000 circulation, but boasted two Pulitzer prizes in its 50-year history. I had nothing to do with either, but get bragging rights anyway! Became an organizer for The Newspaper Guild before hanging up my reporter’s cap.)

    Where was I? Lymph nodes. I Wore a white bandage for about a week, and was afraid to get it wet the first couple of days but more afraid a slight smell would develop that was different from my regular bodily scents. I washed as soon as possible. Kept the bandage on until it was ragged and falling apart.

    I seem to recall my mother had a lump and was afraid to seek removal until late in life. Like over 30.

    Just kidding, more like in her 50s.

    You know one can not leave a message at your “About Us” space. Can’t send e-mails either, at least from my computer station.

    Got two cats, two rabbits, five hens, one budgie (parakeet) and a tiny snapping turtle that may or may not be alive in my teenage son’s room that’s been quaranteened off limits to adults. Cats are Shadow and Sundance, both females who offer completely different, but affectionate, persnalites to this Male Cat friend, me. One runs down the outdoor concrete steps when hearing my car approach, and rolls on the pavement as if she was a dog wagging a tail as the master finally arrives home.

    Sundance is also my “Buddha buddy” who meditates with me daily.

    Whoa. I overstayed my welcome. See you somewhere else another time.

    michael j

  39. September 10, 2010 7:18 PM

    When I go to the doctor he always tells me I’ve got an anxiety issue that should be seen by a professional. Sure, I’m in his office sweating profusely, unable to sit still and screaming at him: “am I going to DIE????” But I don’t think it means I need head shrinking (I do but different subject) rather I’ve been up for 5 days trying to avoid going to see him because I KNOW he’s going to tell me I’ve got a tumor or a genetic disease that’s going to kill me in 3 months or Alzheimer’s.

    My guess (since I totally have my med degree) is either a cyst or a thyroid issue – both, completely resolvable, although I’m not sure with lube and stirrups.

  40. Carolspy permalink
    September 13, 2010 2:02 AM

    Best. Closing. Line. Ever. Also let’s talk soon so you can reassure me that you don’t have cancer. Like when you wanted to tell me you like ladies, and I thought you had cancer…

  41. September 13, 2010 11:07 AM

    When in doubt, do a pap smear. Makes perfect sense to me. Although, if she does it in the right place next time, you better watch out for the gag reflex to kick in.

  42. jessicainthenow permalink
    September 13, 2010 11:30 AM

    LOL i think you’d better just get a new doctor.

  43. theagnosticswife permalink
    September 14, 2010 5:59 PM

    um.. I’m currently seeing an Ear, Nose Throat doctor for a lump on my neck area. He’s sending me for a CT scan of my neck area tomorrow. I hope it’s nothing and I can resume my hypochondriac ways. From one lumpy to another I hope you lump is just a lump as well.

  44. September 14, 2010 11:04 PM

    hey I thought you’d like this as much as I did, we’re both kinda loners by nature 🙂

    It’s really beautiful. Both the poem and the images it is set to.

  45. September 17, 2010 11:39 AM

    Is your doctor in the back of a van?

    ‘Cause maybe she isn’t a doctor.

    And maybe that’s not a pap smear.

    And maybe you’re writing this from a sex slave cell.

    That’s all I’m saying.

  46. September 20, 2010 11:51 AM

    Now I know why I always find the necks to be the sexiest spots!

  47. September 20, 2010 11:53 AM

    Let me be mom for one second: if it does not go away, you really should get it looked at…

  48. November 24, 2010 10:11 PM

    Vee do pap shmear? You still crack me up, lady.
    I had to tell you because I thought it might make you laugh that I actually got cat scratch fever last year- I had an unexplainable fever with no other flu symptoms for three weeks and I went to the doctor, and after having three specialists poke around on me a physical therapist walked by and said “Ooo look at that scar! Cat scratch fever!”
    It turns out she wasnt joking. There really is such a thing. FYI. I guess my cat got a little friendly with Ted Nugent.

  49. tom permalink
    September 19, 2011 3:03 PM

    Cervix is Latin for neck… The female cervix was so named because it resembled a neck to the uterus. Some genius to use the same word for two official words of the anatomy. So women have two cervix… Men have one.

  50. SamSam permalink
    December 11, 2013 8:14 AM

    Sound very familiar to french people with our latin roots, cervical is close to cerveau wich is brain in french. For cervix we use “col de l’uterus” wich could be translated as a “uterus mountain pass”. Happy mountaineering !

  51. March 18, 2014 3:00 PM

    You should be a part of a contest for one of
    the greatest blogs on the internet. I will recommend this web site!

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